I love a good nap. Honestly, it’s the best part of my day. I feel that energy slump in the afternoon, and I know what time it is, it’s Nap Time!
In Traditional Chinese Medicine this is called ‘Baby Yin time’. After midday, as we head towards the night, the energy of the day becomes a bit slower, more relaxed, and more nourishing. This is coming into Yin time, where we do more restful activities, sleep, hang out a little more, consolidate our resources and spend our time wisely.
The energy of the morning is Yang; it is vibrant, bright, full of energy, we should be well rested from a good night’s sleep and a good breakfast, we do our most active work here.
So after your active, productive morning, it’s time for a good lunch at 1pm, something cooked and wholesome. Then it’s Baby Yin time baby. And you know what time that is, it’s sleep time. While lunch is digesting, this is when it’s important to ‘rest and digest’ let your digestive system work on those nutrients you have just taken in, ready to support you through the rest of the day.
Why is a nap important? an Acupuncture perspective
I Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is important to not ‘power through’ the afternoon. This wastes our Yin energies. These are our reserves and can be burnt up quickly if we do not value rest as much as productivity and action. Yin-Deficiency can present itself with symptoms such as general dryness (skin, excessive thirst), insomnia, tiredness/exhaustion, dizziness, and later hot flashes. Yin is further wasted by excessive consumption of Yang substances such as coffee and alcohol. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine helps to bring Yin and Yang back into balance.
Cultivating the perfect nap
Ideally your afternoon nap would be max 15mins long. Any longer than that and you enter REM sleep and wake with what is called ‘sleep inertia’, meaning you will be groggy, cranky and seriously in need of a kick-starter like coffee, as well as interfering with your night-time sleep. I find 10-15 minutes perfect. It lets my mind relax for just long enough that I feel rested and ready for the afternoon. It’s also a good habit to sleep at the same time everyday, for the same length.
Research supports the idea that a little nappy nap is good for you:
–a 2002 Harvard study suggests that a daily nap reduces the risk of dying of heart disease by up to 30%!
–much research is available on power naps and productivity. A 10 minute sleep in the afternoon has been proven to increase alertness, attention to detail, and productivity back to the levels of the morning.
–a nap is better than coffee in terms of alertness. Caffeine makes you feel more wired, but more likely to make mistakes and produce faults of memory. A short sleep just keeps you fresh.
My last thought of the day…wouldn’t the world be a better place if every afternoon, as a planet, we all took our blankies, lay down on a nice soft bed, and took care of our Baby Yin 🙂
Ba. Applied Science (TCM)
Dip. Remedial Massage”
Helena is a registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner, and Remedial Massage Therapist at Gentle Care Chiropractic Norwest, Bella Vista.
She provides acupuncture, remedial massage, and Chinese Medicine (pulse/tongue diagnosis, gua sha, cupping, etc) for people in and around Castle Hill, Norwest, Bella Vista, Kellyville, Glenwood, Stanhope Gardens, Baulkham Hills, Quakers Hill and Rouse Hill.